Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Not quite resolutions, more than a passing thought

By this time in 2009 (December 31, 2009) I would like to have:


Prepared and sold our house
Packed, moved and unpacked our home into a new house (May)
Reorganized and created a new sewing studio
Assemble and hand quilt the Precincts of Tokyo quilt
Cut, sew and assemble the Purple and Red quilt for Melissa
Assemble the Black and White Mystery quilt
Design, cut, sew, assemble and quilt Jenny's Quilt for Jamboree (April)
Design, cut, sew, assemble and quilt a crib or lap quilt for the March fundraiser
Cut and sew the blocks for "Shakespeare in the Park"
Cut, sew and assemble the Poppy Rememberence Quilt (to quilt in 2010)
Make new Christmas stockings for the family (for December)
Create an artistic piece
Create Mini-quilt gift pieces (such as Fabric Post Cards, mini-quilts, table toppers)
Go to work and complete some projects there
Enjoy life with Peter
Visit with my children
Successully take at least 2 night classes
Be financially responsible and efficient
Journal on a more regular basis
Keep showing my love for my family
Have fun with the dogs
Spend time with friends
Choose physical activities more often
Pay attention to what my body is asking for
Figure out how to develop a realistic sense of time (It seems I really need to do this)
Laugh lots
Read
Dance
Keep smiling

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

24 hours to 2009

The 30th of December always feels like a roller coaster day...all day, slowly climbing (creak,creak, creak) to the peak moment as the world rushes past us and we roll up and down, around and around, sometimes letting loose to find ourselves dangerously close to losing our hold on control and other times holding on so tightly, eyes shut tight, and not knowing what you might miss.

The old year is done, a new year has started and it happens so fast.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

A transitional day between the holidays

The Big Christmas day and the days of work that make it so are done. Today was the lazy day, R&R. I am so thankful that I have the next week off work (not counting the day I plan to use to take advantage of the quiet to do some projects).
It is however +13c outside right now (midnight), the 4ft banks of snow are melting and the yard is half grass. This also will switch back to freezing and snow in a few days.

This transitional time is perfect for reviewing the year past and looking forward to the year ahead. I like the concept of thinking through and choosing resolutions. I try to think carefully and realistically. Many of my friends prefer to make changes as they notice they are needed, and that makes sense but it is good to set a point of reference to take stock of where you have been and where you are headed. Maybe you want to understand why and then again maybe not.

The saying that you can't expect different results if you keep doing the same thing is so true. The last few years I have found that choosing a motto for the year has been good for me, especially if I could not resolve any one or two things in particular.

So after the accomplishments in the sewing room for the first 6 months of the year I can add my hours of sewing, quilting, designing
July - 40
August - 38.5
September - 23
October - 7.5
November - 19
December - 10.5

For a 2008 total of 343 hours (I know there are 4 days left and I do plan to do some quilting but I can still update this later).

What have I accomplished since the end of June:
20 Fabric Postcards
Queen Size Dick and Jane Turning Twenty (50!) quilt
Crib Size "bespoke uprising - play date" quilt
12 BOM "Precincts of Japan"
Crib Size "Juke Box" quilt, made with friends
Sofa Size Amy Butler "Belle" quilt
rebinding a quilt
4 toiletries bags
A sock Monkey, and quilting a donation quilt for LFQG
some hemming and mending
a folk-art felted wool wall hanging
I also have some fabric cut for a few projects that I have not yet started to sew.

It is time to consider new lists for 2009. The quilts, the reading, the projects, purging, packing, moving, building the new house, travel, personal development, sharing and keeping in touch, friends and family; it will be a busy year to come.

Friday, 26 December 2008

It's a wonderful Christmas (I love my dishwasher almost as much as my family)

I want to say all the very best of the season to anyone who has stopped by. It is wonderful to think about the people we love and hold them close to our heart, whether they are close enough to hug or simply at the other end of the telephone line.

Our Christmas dinner was Mexican in flavour (suggestion from Cara).

  • Tortilla Soup

  • Quesadilla Pie

  • Guacamole

  • Salad

  • Caramel Flan for dessert (remember to use pyrex since regular dessert bowls will crack when the hot caramel cools - 6 bowls we did not have to wash)



The Tortilla Soup was wonderful, the Quesadilla Pie was tasty and filling; we ate so such of this we had hardly any room for Flan. Since the rest of the family that was sharing dinner table had dietary restrictions I was able to make this and separate all the sensitive components so everyone could personalize their meal.



Easy Tortilla Soup - inspired by an online friend, Leslie in Houston (12 servings)



-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, prepared separately. Cut into small strips: saute in olive oil with a couple of crushed garlic cloves and sprinkled with chipotle chili pepper, when nicely browned I added some water to dissolve the caramelized bits and keep the chicken pieces moist


- 1 cup chopped onion


- 4 cloves garlic, minced


- olive oil


- 8 cups water


- 4 chicken flavoured (vegetable based, meatless) bouillon cubes


- 28 oz can of diced tomatoes


- 1/4 cup chopped jalapeno peppers


In a stock pot, saute the onions in the olive oil until they are nicely browned, adding the garlic and cook till it turns golden; add the water, the bouillon cubes and stir the caramelized bits into the broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer, pour in the can of tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. Let simmer until you are ready to serve (whether 10 minutes or an hour, it will be okay).



Accompaniments:


3 Avocados cut into small cubes (sprinkle with lime juice to keep from turning brown)


1 cup chopped FRESH Cilantro


8 or 10 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4" strips and toasted in the oven till crunchy


1 lime cut into very thin slices


1 cup Shredded cheese such as Monterrey Jack, Cheddar to be used as a topping



To Serve: Prepare separate bowls for the chicken, cheese, diced avocado, cilantro, tortilla strips and limes. Everyone can prepare their bowls with their chosen fillings, ladle the soup over it all and top with the shredded cheese.



Quesadilla Pie



6 - 10" flour tortillas (use corn tortillas for a gluten free version)


1 cup (or 1 can) Refried Pinto or Black Beans


1 /2 plus 1/4 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterrey Jack)


1/2 cup corn (sprinkled with a dash of crushed chilies)


1/2 rice (seasoned with chipotle chili pepper, Mexican Oregano and some garlic)


1/2 cup browned chopped beef or chicken


2 to 3 tablespoons chopped onion


1 tomato, diced


1/2 cup salsa



Lay the first tortilla flat and spread with refried beans, continue layering the tortillas alternating with the above ingredients, mixing in salsa where needed to help the other fillings set and reserving the last 1/4 cup cheese and some salsa for the topping.



Bake at 325 F for approximately 20 minutes, Let set 5 minutes after removing from oven. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges (like a pie)



Serve with Guacamole, Sour Cream and Salsa.




That was Christmas Day. 2 dishwasher loads and a full sink of pots and baking stoneware.

The Boxing Day menu was fresh turkey with stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, gravy, Apple Danish and Pumpkin Pie. This day required 3 reloads of the dishwasher.

Grammy's Nativity Set

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

More Holiday Baking - Cookie Trees

Another holiday tradition is to make Cookie Trees each year on December 24. We make them for hostess gifts and some neighbouring families.
This how we start, Aunt Mary's Sugar Cookies.

  • 1/2 cup margarine ( I use half soy and half real butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 small or medium eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • few grains salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Cream the margarine, add sugar and cream a bit more. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Stir in the dry ingredients and mix well. Chill the dough. Roll very on a well-floured mat. Cut into shapes.

Bake at 375 F for approximately 6 to 10 minutes

I sometimes tint the butter with green food colouring so that the star shaped cookies we stack into trees will create a green Christmas Tree.

We cut 5 or 6 graduated sizes of star shapes, 3 of each size. These are stacked from largest to smallest and each star is shifted slightly so that the points alternate. I drizzle an icing glaze over everything (looks like snow) and then sprinkle decors on the tress. Here is one from last year:


And when it is all dressed up, it is ready to go visiting...

Gingerbread House Party

This is the result of an evening of sugar laden, giggly frolic.

I bake them using Lois Black's Ginger Snap recipe, the absolute best tasting ginger bread. These can be rolled out as thin as you like and if you are just making cookies rather than houses you will be baking ginger snaps for weeks. This is the only cookie dough I cannot help myself from eating raw. I sometimes have to make an extra batch just so I can finish my house pieces because I have eaten so much of it.

Lois Black's Ginger Snaps:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar (yes, only cider vinegar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • enough flour to form a stiff dough (could be anywhere from 4 to 6 cups depending on the moisture content of your flour)

Combine sugar, molasses, butter, egg, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda. Mix well.
Add cider vinegar, vanilla, flour slowly till you have a nice stiff dough. Roll out thin and cut into desired shapes.

Bake at 325 F, approximately 10 to 12 minutes

If you are making ginger snap cookies, for adults, add a dash of cayenne pepper for extra zip!

Of course this has to be assembled carefully. After the structure is built you have to wait for at least 15 or 20 minutes and sample the candy.



















A very important step in planning is more taste testing. We had green and red Smarties, Mini M&M's, JuJube Wreaths. Gummi reindeer, Mint Kisses, Gum Balls, Andes Mints Chocolates, Chocolate Balls, Malted Milk Snow Balls, Chocolate Macaroons, Ribbon Candy, Coloured Sprinkles, Reese's Mini Cups, Candy Canes, Candy Corn, Mints, Candy Snow Men and Candy Santa's.

All of this is cemented into place with Royal Icing. The meringue powder I have been able to find the last few years has not been as nice to use as what we previously were able to buy. It is now premixed with Icing Sugar so it is even more expensive to use. The other product only required 2 tablespoons of meringue powder to each 4 cups of icing sugar. This uses 1 cup of meringue powder to 3 1/2 cups of icing sugar, and being the same price... costs 4 times the price.
This year is it was freezing cold and the air was crisp dry. Our last 2 decorating parties had pouring rain outside, the icing would not dry quickly enough and all our roofs slid off, walls collapsed - what a trial. We were able to fix everything by using roof trusses (Cinnamon Sticks) to support our candy laden tops.
This year was great, only one roof slid and only one wall pushed in.
TA DAA!


This year I only needed to bake 6 houses, I have baked 9 for this party before. I think our bag Ladies group has been making these together for at least 8 years, maybe 10.

What a great night!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Squeezing the dollars, twice

Grammy would make the most of everything before she would spend extra dollars.
    Grammy and a Bunny Cake, Easter, 1975

  • cook from basic food ingredients; our every day meals and our special treats
  • knit and crochet hats, scarves, sweaters, afghans etc.
  • sew pajamas, every day clothes, special occasion wear, coats etc.
  • re-purpose as many things as possible, such as using large empty cans, covered in a fabric casing to make a small foot stool
  • compost
  • save the buttons from unwearable clothing
  • mend clothing
  • make bean bags to play with
  • use a wash basin to save water while washing dishes
  • share
  • showed us her love and care by spending time with us
  • She always found a way to to use items that no longer met their original purposes

I grew up understanding that was normal, to make the most value from everything as a matter of course.

There have been many times over my lifetime so far when living that way made the big difference in how we survived tight times. Being newly married, starting a family, being a stay-at-home-mom, squeezing out mortgage payments at 20% interest rates, surviving lay-offs and unemployment; raising our family through it all.

Times may be getting tough again but we will all survive. There are hundreds of ways to spend less and squeeze the dollar tighter. It actually feels good to work through the challenge of making each dollar go farther.

I know that over the last few years I have spent money fairly loosely, not thinking quite so hard before I bought whatever happy little gadget came my way, especially if it was a kitchen tool, notions to help me quilt, pretty fabric or anything that made my kids smile. As we learn lifelong there are cycles for everything. Now begins the time to think more like my Grammy again.

All the Grandchildren (except Melody - who is there in someone's hand in a photo), perhaps in 1986 or 87

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Catch up with my quilting


"Snoopy + Belle" (the Amy Butler pattern) is done, all bound, labelled, washed and folded; ready for the Cara to snuggle under it.


The pattern is now worked out for Melissa's "Purple and Red" Strip Quilt; I think EQ6 was a great help in designing this. Now before I cut any of that pile of purple and red fabric we both understand what she would like this to look like. This one should measure up to 80" x 80".

I have to assemble the cut pieces for the 2008 Mystery Quilt that I designed for the Bag Ladies. They are cut into whites with black, Blacks with white, and a beautiful blue for the centre square. Unfortunately I cannot open the EQ6 file that I made of this pattern. You will have to wait until I finish it to see it; sorry.

The fabric needs to be cut for our Bag Lady 2009 project - "Shakespeare in the Park" (a pattern by Judy Martin). I am going to use my green and neutral FQ's and small pieces to do this one.

And then of course, I have the old UFO's .... Assembling the Bag Ladies Sampler Quilt, completing the 30's repros quilt, hand quilting my "Precincts of Japan". I will be a busy girl, even if I pack up most of the studio.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Merry Christmas fun and smiles

Please click here for a Happy Holidays jigsaw puzzle.

let sleeping dogs lie...


This is how I left the dogs this morning. I expect that they spent the whole day in the same way. Usually when I return home there are toys all over the floor. Not today. The blankets were still pretty much where they were this morning.

It is winter.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

House Update - Ki West

We need a minor variance because the zoning regulations have changed since the lot was created. The previous requirement was that the lot be 50 metres deep, ours is 56.6 metres BUT the current rules require that a rural residential lot be 80 metres deep. This means that we had to apply for a minor variance. With the able help of the local planner and the township office, our application is making its way to the local township's next council meeting agenda.

After the meeting,once approved, there is a need to wait a further 20 days before the builder is allowed to start building. January 26, 2009. Our septic permit however is in place and that can go in whenever.

It is of course freezing winter now. The earliest snow and coldest December we have had in many years. Hopefully we will have a nice thaw in January.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Cara's lap quilt

This is how I have to work sometimes ...






I am giving Cara a hand with the binding. She did such a super job creating this piece. She dyed the cotton as well as the wool for the binding. She ruched it in some kind of a steam press.

I think it is a wonderful quilt. She does not realize what a great quilter she is inside.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Belle and Snoopy - preserving memories

Many, many years ago, while I was pregnant with DD#2 I found a cheerful blanket pattern to crochet. When I finished up the blanket I noticed that the pattern was entitled "Cara's Blanket"; this was quite serendipitous because coincidentally that sweet baby was named Cara anyway; it was meant for her.

This cute little Cara however was allergic to acrylic and so I had to make her a cotton quilt. The sweetest fabric I could find at the time was a Snoopy and Belle (copyright Charles Schulz) print on a pink background. This, along with some great "Thermalon" batting and a wide satin blanket binding became her special blanket.
(Just look at these super sweet sisters; March 1983.)
Cara traveled with this quilt everywhere, and even as she grew up her magic blanket "Snoopy" was with her. I always teased that I would have to sew it into her wedding dress when she married as they were almost never seen apart. Now however this sweet little Cara is an adult, married woman. Yes, there was a piece of the quilt sewn into the lining of her wedding dress.

So, the tired and much love worn, twice re-bound and re-covered "Snoopy" now hidden under a lady bug print was becoming pretty lonely. After 24 years and a thousand washings, the fabric was worn bare but that Thermalon batting was still in great shape.
Cara really liked the Amy Butler kit that I purchased for myself for fun in December 2006.
Eventually I decided I would make it and then give it to her. Somehow I thought it would be a great idea then to use the love-worn Snoopy as the batting. I needed to add some extra all around as it was a bit smaller than the pattern I was making.


I save all my project scraps (batting included) and easily found some cotton batting of matching weight. The fabric on the "Snoopy" was all tattered and frayed. I chose the lightest weight, 100% cotton fabric I could find, to use as a stabilizing layer both over top of and below the original quilt with the added batting. A light weight drapery lining was the perfect solution, 60" meant no additional seams.

I layered Snoopy between 2 layers of lining, then the quilt backing and top. It is now all basted and marked for quilting. This I hope to accomplish over the next 2 weeks, I also have the "Jukebox" baby quilt to quilt to do while I have my work place set for quilting.

I wanted to share however some of my learnings from this project:

The "Easy Circle Cut" ruler was fabulous. My circles were quickly cut, perfectly round, and it also was ideal to use as a template for marking the concentric circles for quilting. I love it, especially that I had bought it on sale half price a few months ago.





I really do not like fusing applique pieces on quilt projects. I think that fusibles should be kept for wall hangings and none cuddly quilting. The pattern directed me to fuse the circles on the quilt. The kit had just enough fabric to cut my pieces so I was not comfortable enough to experiment.

I would make this pattern again but I would use an alternate applique method for the circles.


Serendipity stuck twice in my Cara's blanket stories, as I realized when I was mostly done that while this pattern is called "Belle", the "Snoopy" quilt I chose to carefully rest inside is really a print of "Snoopy" and his sister "Belle". I guess this too was really always meant for Cara.

It will be quilted over the next few weeks, along with this:

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A few words from Bill and paying up to my Dad

I was quite thrilled today to be able to attend a speech and Q&A session featuring President William Jefferson Clinton. Bill was discussing the current economic situation in the United States and how it is affecting everyday working people. He was sharing optimism and a belief that there is still opportunity to make things better. Look at the glass half full, not empty and look forward to making the right choices for the good of an interdependent world.

In 1976, during my Senior year at Indian Hills H.S. I was planning to spend the winter break in Washington D.C. Our local congressman recommended me to join a group of other Senior year students for a few days that included meeting the president, Gerald Ford, as well as tours of the capital. My father, a proud Marine (Purple Heart) veteran of the Korean war, was very keen.

A couple of weeks before the trip I, being 18 and angsty, thought it might be a better idea to pass on the Presidential visit for a trip back to London so that I might "tie up loose ends with friends" - in particular one special someone. Now of course I did end up marrying the particular special someone in 1977. My dad however did not really get over how much my change of plans pissed him off.

I love my (sadly, no longer with us) father dearly and feel badly about this great disappointment - not that I married the sweetie but that I jilted President Ford. So, now I think I have made it up to him. I did put my $ down for a VIP seat that let me be within 40 feet of President Clinton. It was good to hear his take on how things can be going forward.
************************************************************************************

Quilting.... I have cut, sewn and assembled the Amy Butler "Belle". It is ready to be basted up for quilting. I look forward to sharing the project photos and a little story .

House Build.... A minor variance is needed, sounds like it is not a big issue for the Township Planning Department but still needs to be done. The hole is planned for next week and swiftly thereafter comes the pouring of the footings and wall. EXCITING!.
I am going to list this as lots of Acts of Green.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Ahhhhh.......

The back yard this morning....

and so we head out for breakfast. I cleaned off the car and my Honey cleared the walkway and driveway from last night's snow. It is only November 22.



So we have decided. Papers are signed, permits in motion. We are looking for a hole in the ground very soon and then....

Our new home, the red honeymoon cottage.










Yes, there is a sewing studio. We also will still have a big kitchen, a comfy living room and a large bedroom. We will really put the cars inside the garage here because I don't want to wake up even that much earlier to clean the car windows off so I can drive to work. We will be living in the country, a big village with 110 water hook ups.

The goal is to be as green as possible so it will have ICF exterior walls nearly a foot thick, geothermal as the main heat source, situated on our lot for the best passive solar benefits, designed to (one day) have solar panels added - when affordability, ROI and efficiency are better, the building materials will be sourced as locally as possible in terms of manufacture and supply. We should be able to live there using much less energy resources, except of course the multi-coloured $ resource needed to pay for it all.

I hope that you readers will look forward to my sharing this project along with the rest of my living , quilting and stuff.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sort of a Super Saturday

We were out driving in bucketing rain and 3 Celsius, I told my Sweetie that it could be a bad wintry storm if it were 9 degrees less; well barely an hour later the winds blew up, the sleet blew in and pretty soon the roof and roads were white. The local Santa Claus Parade was tonight and the kids waiting for Santa certainly were going to be cold and wet, although totally in the Winter Wonderland spirit.

I planned to put the slow cooker on with chicken pieces and potatoes for dinner but our, local Superstore had small, fresh turkeys (about 5 kg) on sale at a better price ($5.49/kg) than the chickens were. Friends were coming over to enjoy dinner with us; turkey and trimmings became the new menu. I was not ready to make a turkey today though so there was not time enough to prepare stuffing.

What I did do however was to rub the bird inside and out with "herbes de Provence", stuff the cavity with a quartered apple, some stalks of celery and dried cranberries. I poured a half cup of cider into the cavity and let it roast, covered for a few hours (with a bit of basting). It was absolutely wonderful. Garlic & Pepper mashed potatoes (skins in), turnip, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, an amazing gravy using the juices from the roasted bird and my signature cranberry sauce*. I also put together an apple crisp for dessert.

Lyla stayed for a sewing night. She worked on a new quilt while I checked off quite a few projects.

Firstly I made my 2 bags for our annual good-will project. The Tuesday Night Bag Ladies collect toiletries over a few month time period. We sew up toiletries bags; then fill them with shampoo, conditioners, moisturizers, special soaps, tooth brush, tooth paste, dental floss. These are donated to a local women's shelter. This year will likely net about a dozen filled bags.

I hemmed my Sweetie's jogging pants. It sounds easy but they were lined and had a zipper and plackets at the cuff end, which needed a 2 inch hem.

I worked on rebinding Cara's beautiful ruched lap quilt. She dyed the cotton fabric and 100% wool for the raw edge binding herself.

Next I could finally choose a quilting project to work on. It has been so long since I could just choose something to do that I did not back myself into with a commitment.

Amy Butler "Belle" for the Cara or the Red & Purple quilt for Melissa? ??????????????????

Well, to help Cara have a lap quilt to snuggle under when Dave has his warm hand-dyed one that Cara made him, and because all those prints are too much fun, Lyla convinced me to do Amy Butler. The fabrics needed washing first; so into the washing machine they went and on to another project I went.

Here are the Amy Butler prints all freshly cleaned and folded. Ready for cutting.









I pulled out a stack of sampler blocks that were prepared 2 years ago. A few of the PP blocks still had the paper in place.. I figured I could pull out the bits, press and square these up. I think I need to put sashing (deep-red) between these blocks but I do have it here and ready to cut..












And the highlight of the week: The Remembrance Poppy Quilt from Pam Bono
Aren't these fabulous prints. The reds are amazing.













All this and it still was Saturday. There was still time to watch some SNL.

*LINDA'S Signature Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of white sugar (to taste)
  • 1 orange (be sure to wash the peel)
  • 1" piece of cinnamon stick
  1. Place the cranberries in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Zest the orange rind, placing about 1 teaspoon of fresh zest in the saucepan with the cranberries and the cinnamon stick. Add the sugar.
  3. Cut the orange in half and juice both halves. Add water as needed so that the liquid totals 1 cup. Pour this into the saucepan with the cranberries.
  4. Stir till well mixed. Cover the saucepan and heat till it starts to bubble, watch carefully as it can overboil and burn instantly. Turn the heat to low and let the Cranberry Sauce simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Be careful to remove the piece of cinnamon stick before you serve the sauce.
  5. Let cool and serve. This keeps nicely in the fridge (in a clean, closed container) for a few weeks - if the jar is not emptied before then. This is also amazing as a condiment for a simple macaroni and cheddar cheese side dish.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Saturday Sewing

I picked up this set of 3 prints:

Lyla chose these 3 prints:

Penny found these:

We chose our sets of prints individually and amazingly, fortuitously they do work together in one quilt. We spent the day putting these 3 sets together to make one quiltFons & Porter Jukebox Pattern together for a baby that will be arriving for Christmas.









It is all basted up, I will machine quilt it. It just needs a label, the binding stitched down, a gentle washing, a light pressing so that it can be wrapped up for a special new baby. The Aunties are planning another "Auntie Bee" (just in case any more babies are getting ready to make their way into this world).

They really do look great together.



We enjoyed the day, sewing, laughing, chasing silly dogs from causing trouble, hugging dogs for being so cute and a quick run to buy some Custard Tarts from Nova Era. A couple of those, a couple of Cappuccinos and husbands who went out to do the weekly shopping for us; what a great day!

C'est l'Halloween


23 assorted devils, princesses, ballerinas, queens, draculas, pirates, cutesy little animals and one Unicorn. 145 miniature bags of Candy, handed out 2 at a time leaves 99 little bags of sugar for me.
Saturday will be a quilty day; dear friends are coming over for a quilt bee. We are making another baby quilt for a friend's soon-to-arrive grand child. We Aunties love to wrap babies in hugs.

Monday, 27 October 2008

It feels like Wednesday, Feist was Friday and the days ahead look good

The Rainbow was waiting for me after work tonight. A golden sun, a misty rain and this ....

Tonight was a "hump" day. I finished a project for my night class, the big fund-raiser is done at work for the year, what happens with the house appraisal is waiting and out of my hands, the cool damp weather is setting in, Fall is in full force and now I can think of what project to work at next.

I have a short list to sew:
The Black and White and Blue
The Red and Purple
The Amy Butler
Shakespeare in the Park

These blocks are ready to be assembled into a quilt:
Precincts of Japan
1930's reproduction

I am okay to pack away the other RR's and QIW's until (fingers crossed) I unpack them in a new sewing room. I am getting pretty hopeful now.

I still am considering my want to do`s:
Make new Christmas stockings for the family
Make the sort-of-started Tree Skirt
...and buying the kit for the "Remembrance Day - Poppy Quilt" by Pam Bono. I am so tempted to get it, then next year (or 2010) I would donate it as a fundraiser for returning veterans. It is beautiful but, ouch, another $149 + tax.

Last Friday night (October 24th) we were so lucky to see Feist in concert. It was such a warm, fun positive feel good time. Feist is a treasure who so deftly plays her voice like a delicate instrument. Her voice gently dances through her vocal range so that her audience is all loved up! The ever-changing stage graphics are amazing, simply hypnotic, beautiful and such a bonus for the night. If you ever have the opportunity to attend her concert, don`t miss it.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

One Million Acts of Green

One Million Acts of Green every little thing you can do helps. Just like the million points of light.

Think about it, what else can you do?

....What is One Million Acts of Green?
This season, CBC and The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos want
to mobilize Canadians to do One Million Acts of Green. In partnership with
Cisco, the idea behind the campaign is that one small act can make a big
difference.
It’s not about overhauling your life; it’s about one act from
each individual amassing to a million. It can be as simple as switching to
compact fluorescent lightbulbs, starting a recycling program, or walking to
work. You can do one act – or you can do all one million! It’s up to
you.
What do I do now? I do the easy stuff: composting, recycling as many things as possible, reusing anything I can find another use for, find someone who is needing something that I no longer use so I don't have to toss it away and they don't have to buy it, removing zippers that are still usable from bags or other things that no longer are usable, cutting off buttons, mending clothes, cloth shopping bags, using toxic-free home cleaning methods, turn off lights when I am not in the room, choose lighting options carefully, plan my errands for the most efficient route, try to think about how my Grammy would have done something since she was one of the most resourceful people I know, make as many gifts for people I care about as I can, take my daily home brewed coffee to work, take a thermos of tea for my afternoon libations, most lunches are left-overs, hanging as much laundry as I can for air drying, ...

There always is more that can be done and we have great plans to set up our life going forward in as resource-responsible way that we can.

Check the website out, think about what you can do for your part.

As an aside, my nightly TV fix: first Peter (The National), then Strombo (The Hour)- he's my boyfriend, you know; then maybe H if I can stand a third hour of TV while I fold laundry, quilt or browse around my virtual neighbourhood.

Sock Monkeys and Monkey Clowns



I quilted this for the local guild's Tooney table. This is where they raise money to purchase batting for quilts given to the local Children's Aid. The guild members work on quilts that are given to kids taken into care.

Mibsie is one of the most prolific contibutors. She cuts, pieces and assembles tops by the 100's of metres of fabric. This is her standard pattern; her colour blending is absolutely FUN! She cuts enough fabric for perhaps 10 quilts at a time.

The Clown Monky fabric in this top inspired another idea; finish it up, add a cute sock monkey and add it to the tooney raffle table. I promised her I would do that and so I have:



I have also made this especially for a dear friend for her Christmas gift. It is a pattern from Originellies

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Lists and minutia

Kay has counted up her list of books now too. Very much fun!

Tonight's chocolate, ahhhh. Scharffen Berger Bittersweet.

Now looking towards the end of 2008 it is time to put together a "by the end of the year" list.

We have a lot to look forward to and a very lot to get done at the same time that I still want to keep having fun.

To do:
-Finish quilting a kid's quilt for the guild (must do by Oct. 22)
-Decide which of my WIP to work on... I really want to get one more quilt completed before the year end
-Keep on top of my night class, presentation is due Oct 27
-A big house cleaning, this busy last few weeks are very evident; good job that my honey did a major vacuuming for us this past weekend
-Triage, purge, prioritize and otherwise start the clean out of "stuff" (There may be news coming on this front.....big decisions to be made)
-Oh yes, Christmas is coming. I do have one gift already made for a special friend


...and look after the important people in my life, my family


How did he get to Miami from here?

And the very best thought of the day, it is only one more day to the weekend.